Maccabi Tel Aviv Head Coach Slavisa Jokanovic spoke to the press following the 1:1 draw against Basel that propelled Maccabi into the Champions League group stages.
Maccabi started the campaign with a loss to Hibernians and finished in the Champions League group stages. What made the real difference over the past six weeks?
We played 6 games and there were many situations we were in. We were lucky with Hibernians and we had many problems at the beginning, but in football you must improve. We drew today and I would have rather won, but Basel is an excellent team. The players showed great character and much more than the first game in Malta. After many years of dominating in Israel this was a great step for Maccabi.
I'm very proud of our players that we are bringing the best European clubs to Israel. We will play better and we have a great autumn in front of us.
How did you feel about this accomplishment compared to your past ones?
I'm happy especially for my players and for my family and the supporters. We made them all happy and now it's part of history and we have to prepare for the next match. We can't find the time to celebrate and we have to be ready in front of us.
What is your best achievement?
This is a great step in my coaching career. What happened last May with Watford is long ago already. We have to prepare for our next opponent and we will have a very difficult draw in the Champions League. We will play some very strong teams in Europe. If we never play these type of teams we will never know how we stack up against the best of the best.
I'm not thinking about anything right now other than the next game against Beer Sheva. Right now my career is here in Israel. I enjoy my profession. You never know what will happen.
Was this the best tactical defensive display that Maccabi had this season?
In football it's always important to keep improving. Today we all understood that it's very important to play without the ball and we did just that, we worked very hard and were organized well. We also played with great personality. At the beginning of the game we played a bit without confidence and after Basel scored we fought harder for possession. Then Eran scored for us and we move on.